185.A98 Epistemic Logic and Communication
This course is in all assigned curricula part of the STEOP.
This course is in at least 1 assigned curriculum part of the STEOP.

2021S, VU, 2.0h, 3.0EC


  • Semester hours: 2.0
  • Credits: 3.0
  • Type: VU Lecture and Exercise
  • Format: Distance Learning

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, students are able to reason formally about knowledge and belief, both statically and dynamically, as well as group-based notions such as common knowledge. Proofs of completeness theorems are presented in full detail.

Subject of course

The development of Artificial Intelligence cannot be imagined without a formal theory of knowledge. Thus, what has been in the domain of philosophy under the name of formal epistemology, has gained a second life in logic and computer science under the name of epistemic logic.

Epistemic logic started as a study of the laws of static knowledge. The proliferation of multi-agent and distributed systems called for a more dynamic view of knowledge and guaranteed the success of what is now called dynamic epistemic logic. It studies how knowledge changes as a
result of communication between the agents. Dynamic epistemic logic has connections with database theory, game theory, and economics.

In the course, we first study standard epistemic modal logics for multi-agent systems and discuss concepts such as individual, group, distributed and common knowledge. These concepts will be illustrated by some famous examples, such as Cheryl's Birthday, the Muddy Children
Puzzle, the Two Generals' Problem, and the Alternating Bit Protocol. We study the syntax and semantics of epistemic logics. We then introduce the dynamic element, i.e., the means of expressing communication and the resulting change in knowledge of the agents. We first study simple updates corresponding to public announcements and discuss whether public
announcements must necessarily be successful, i.e., whether a public announcement of a particular fact brings about the knowledge of this fact by the agents. We then turn our attention to a more general model of communication called action models.

The course will mostly be based on the book "Hans van Ditmarsch, Wiebe van der Hoek, Barteld Kooi, 'Dynamic Epistemic Logic'. Springer, 2007 (Volume 337 of Synthese Library)"

Teaching methods


Mode of examination


Additional information

Ects Breakdown

3 ECTS = 75 Hours
   - Lecture 24h
   - Solving the exercises 20h
   - Study of book and other literature 10h
   - Preparation for exam 20.5h
   - Oral exam 0.5h

Classes held on Wednesdays, 10:00-12:00 by Zoom



Examination modalities

Oral exam

Course registration

Begin End Deregistration end
26.02.2021 13:00



Hans van Ditmarsch, Wiebe van der Hoek, Barteld Kooi

Dynamic Epistemic Logic

(v. 337 of Synthese Library)

Springer, 2008